Earth Day was started by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson on April 22, 1970 as a day of education about environmental reform that can be accomplished through changes to human behavior. The name and concept of Earth Day was originally coined by John McConnell in 1969. John pushed for Earth Day to be held on March 21 , 1970, which was also the first day of spring. However, April 22 ended up being the official Earth Day for many reasons – it maximized college participation by not falling during exams or spring breaks, it didn’t conflict with Easter or Passover, and was late enough in spring to celebrate during better weather. In 1990, Denis Hayes organized Earth Day events in 141 countries outside of the United States, which in 2009 resulted in what the United Nations General Assembly declared as International Mother Earth Day. Today Earth Day is celebrated on 192 countries.
How to Celebrate
There are many things you can do to celebrate Earth Day. The simplest is what you’ve done already, which is to be aware of the holiday and think about the importance of taking care of our planet. Each year I help organize an adopt-a-highway 2-mile litter cleanup which is held in the spring close to Earth Day, as well as in the fall. This year the Earth Day Network is focusing in “The Face of Climate Change”. They would like everyone to upload a photo and story about how climate change has affected you and how you are helping to solve this problem.
To honor this day we are featuring the 1986 Coca-Cola Spaceship Earth can from the 15 Years of Walt Disney World set. On it is a graphic of EPCOT Center’s well-known symbol. Under it is the text, “The world’s first geosphere, this 18-story symbol of EPCOT Center is a fascinating adventure for the eyes and ears – an unforgettable message about man’s ability to survive through communication.”
Happy Earth Day (4/22)!
Photo used by permission of CanMuseum.com